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News April 2018

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The expansive plaza at 140 Broadway is probably best known for its landmark sculpture. Isamu Noguchi’s red “Cube” on point is a striking complement to the refined tower and plaza Gordon Bunshaft of SOM designed for Marine Midland Bank in 1967. In 2013, 140 Broadway earned much-deserved individual landmark status. In January 2018, the building owners announced plans for updating the plaza. Given that the plaza had undergone unsympathetic alterations prior to the designation this was an opportunity to return the plaza to something closer to Bunshaft’s original vision. ... MORE

140 Broadway (Gordon Bunshaft/SOM, 1967) with Isamu Noguchi sculpture, "Cube." photo: Jan Martin

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on March 27 to gather public comments on the wide-ranging changes it is proposing to the rules governing the regulatory process for approving work on designated properties. The hearing drew an overflow crowd of individuals, professional organizations, preservation and environmental advocacy groups, and community board representatives. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State president John Arbuckle provided testimony on behalf of the chapter in an effort to highlight the potential negative impact of the proposed rules changes to buildings and sites from the Modern movement.... MORE

In New Jersey, the Modern era of jet travel commenced in August 1973 with the opening of Newark Airport’s Terminal A. Its construction was part of a $500 million renewal project that would enable Newark to serve as a gateway to the metropolitan region and earn it the name of “Newark International Airport.” The master plan, prepared by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, called for the construction of three terminals (A, B, and C) to be started simultaneously but completed in phases. A New York Times article of August 6, 1973 heralded the opening, noting that “from the air…there is an impressive view of the three new terminals, which look like modernistic crowns.... MORE

Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a budget that not did not extend the NY State Historic Tax Credit and also proposed delaying payments on certain projects for up to three years. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of preservation organizations and strong public support, the tax credit was reintroduced in the Assembly and the Senate budgets and was included in the final version of the budget. The state tax credit has been extended through December 31, 2024 and decoupled from the Federal Historic Tax Credit so that credits may be taken in one tax year as opposed to over five years... MORE

Lever House, photo: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

Some happy news for a Modern icon—the Glass House will reopen May 3 with a fully restored ceiling. In recent years, the ceiling was sagging in several areas. A study identified the cause to be the system attaching the ceiling to the roof timbers, which was both poorly constructed and inadequate for the weight of the 1,800 square-foot-plaster ceiling. Additional issues included the presence of a top coat mixed with asbestos and two doors that were not functioning properly due to the sagging. Thanks in part to funding from Bank of America and the Connecticut Department of Economic Community Development, the entire plaster ceiling was replaced. ... MORE

The Pavilion Apartments, a set of two identical 22-story apartment towers designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Newark, NJ, have sold for $70.5 million to Pavilion Towers LLC. The sale is the single largest of a multifamily property in Newark by more than $18 million. The Pavilion Apartments are part of the Colonnade Park Historic District which also includes Mies van der Rohe’s Colonnade Apartments. Completed in 1960, the market-rate apartment complex was part of a larger urban renewal program that was never fully realized. In 2014, all three towers were certified eligible for listing in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.... MORE

Photo: John W. Cahill—CTBUH

Nominations are open for the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the award. The biennial prize for which Knoll is founding sponsor will be awarded this fall to an architect, urban designer/planner, or other design professional or firm, to recognize an innovative intervention that preserved and saved a threatened Modern building or complex. Nominated projects must have been completed in the last five years, and must have faced challenges or threats that affected the site before preservation. The deadline for nominations is June 15, 2018... MORE

On April 1, the New York architectural community lost Robert F. Gatje, FAIA, a long-time partner in the firm of Modernist pioneer Marcel Breuer. A native of Brooklyn and architecture graduate of Cornell, Gatje spent the years 1953 to 1982 with Breuer's office, becoming one of the master's four partners who shared credits for most of the firm's work from 1960 on. Gatje is best known for leading the firm's projects in Europe, including of the impressive IBM office building at La Gaude in Provence and the ski resort of Flaine—comprising some 50 buildings—in the French Alps. ... MORE

Photo courtesy Susan Witter